I went on the 5th May. On the 13th May, Beth Chatto died, at the ripe old age of 94, nourished for over 50 years by her marvellous garden I’m sure. As I’m writing this I’m watching Gardeners World, and Monty’s just said it was “a life supremely well lived”. What an epitaph.
It was my first visit. I was expecting it to be ordered, as these gardens often are, but it wasn’t – it was a riot! Everything was growing, everywhere – not a spare bit of earth could be seen. As I went with my aunt, not so many photos as we were chatting too much 😉 . It was a lovely sunny day, although as it was wet in the week before it was a squelchy underfoot in the boggy garden in places. I also liked the wooded areas, especially the enormous pink camellia that must have been 20ft high.
The nursery was also fab, as it has such a good range of plants, many unusual. I acquired (courtesy of my aunt’s Christmas vouchers) 2 stipa, 2 different types of clematis, an unusual Thift “In the Red”, and a purple spineless Arcaena. What a lovely day.
Somehow I just haven’t been going to the allotment. Weather, travelling for work, just not feeling in the mood etc etc….
I finally got there to discover my sprouting broccoli had gone to seed, and I’d grown an excellent crop of fat slugs and healthy weeds 😦 .
Also my netting had split, and the rhubarb has taken over (aka Day of the Triffids).
So I’m starting again. Loving my raised beds which are easy to weed and already warming up. The main clay soil is still wet and heavy so I’m thinking of investing in some more raised beds.
I’m also upgrading the paths with wood chips – it turns out there is a free pile so I’m putting the chips on top of last year’s weed suppressing fabric.
I’ve “sewn” my netting back together and harvested some of the (quite sharp) rhubarb for a compote. I’ve planted some more broad beans as not all my autumn batch have germinated.
Meanwhile the seeds are coming along at home. It’s nice to be moving again.
Ok so I continue to plant seeds in the face of changeable weather…. I am loving my greenhouse though! Things germinate so much faster – or maybe that’s just because it’s later in the season? Anyway:
Poppies – Falling in Love / Black Beauty / Candy Floss
Cornflower – Black Ball
Calendula Touch of Red Mix
Ping Pong Scabious & Tall Double Mix
Rudbeckia hirta Sahara & Cherry Brandy
Snapdragon Night and Day
Cosmos – Click Cranberries / Daydream/ Peppermint Rock/Purity/ Candy Floss
Morning Glory – Choice Mixed
Sunflower Velvet Queen & Giant Mongolian / Harlequin
Dahlia – Bishops Children
Love in a Puff
Cucumber Marketmore (I had good success with this last year)
Sweetcorn Snobaby (these didn’t really work but trying again) / Rising Sun
Pumpkin Jack O’Lantern / Rouge Vif D’Etampes / Marina Di Chioggia
Savoy Cabbage Ormskirk
Courgette – Striato di Napoli
Purple Spouting Brocoli Cardinal
Climbing French Bean – mixed – Carminat / Monte Cristo / Monte Gusto
Dwarf French Bean – Safari
Dwarf Borlotto di Vigevano Nano
So, needing a little trip on my own I went south to Sarah Raven’s Open Day. Spring is a bit mad here this year. It’s been so cold that the flowers have just been waiting for a bit of warmth before coming out – and now the sun is here so is spring and everything is out all together – cheery trees, narcissi and daffs, tulips, and I even saw bluebells on the way down. I can’t remember a year like it.
A few shots to brighten the day:
So I’ve planted the following seeds, still running late, but hey-ho spring is running late so I reckon it should be ok….
Tomatoes: Sugar Plum, Tigerella, Costoluto di Fiorentino, Gardeners Delight
Aubergine: Prosperosa, Patio Mix F1, Slim Jim
Squash: Early Butternut, Winter Uchiki Kuri, Spaghetti Squash, Crown Prince, Red Kuri, Munchkin
Icelandic Poppy, Craspedia, Blue Lace Flower, Brachyscome, Rhodochiton Purple Bells, Agastache aurantiaca Navajo, Echinacea pallida, Aquilegia Lime Sorbet, Globe Thistle, the beautifully named Irish Poet, Gaura The Bride.
Also a few pics of the garden in spring.
So the greenhouse is built. Hurrah! Just need to bolt it down to the slab. It was – let’s say – a mission. I have no feeling to build another in my lifetime 😉 .
We laid the majority of the slabs over a very soggy Easter with my dad (where would we be without dads!). The front slabs we laid later, as it was too soggy to continue on Easter Monday. Now we’ve got loads of heat I notice these front ones have sunk slightly. I guess they will lift again once we get some more rain. The joy of clay. Anyway.
The greenhouse construction was further assisted by Rob & Marty. The instructions were middling. Andy & I finished the roof frame and then glazed. The first couple of panes were hardest. (Top tip – if you have a sticky seal system – just partially pull down the strip protecting the sticky side by an inch or so, and then position the pane, before pulling out the rest of the strip).
I eventually managed to fit the louvre, but not without calling the manufacturer. And finally fitted the vents. Now it’s so warm they certainly seem to be works – it’s 40 degrees in there. One extreme to the other.
Rather than buy a potting table I’ve acquired a vintage washstand off eBay. Just need to source some wide, but reasonably priced staging – which is harder than it sounds.
So now almost I’m good to go. My first ever greenhouse!
I have finally started planting seeds – SO LATE!
The greenhouse is still not built as the weather has been very unfriendly. Easter was basically a wash out, although we have made some progress on the slab base – more on that soon… In the meantime I have taken to setting up a seed table in the house to get going.
So here’s my first seed list of 2018 🙂 Sweet Peas, Peas, and Mange Tout, as follows:
Sweet: Blue Velvet / Almost Black / Harlequin Mix (Lord Nelson/ Matucana/ Prince Edward of York)/ Opal Mix (Anniversary/ Mrs Collier/ Painted Lady/ Turquoise Lagoon/ Wiltshire Ripple / Hi-Scent
Pea: Tendrilla / Sugar Ann/ Douce Provence
Mange Tout: Carouby de Maussane (my favourite) / Shiraz / Golden Sweet / Oregon
So happy to have begun 🙂